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This question is about the history of understanding the nature of the atmosphere. It asks:

When was the first time that scientists (or philosophers, etc) suggested that the air surrounding the world might only go so high, and that beyond it was an airless emptiness or void?

This seems entirely on topic to me, yet it's been closed for being off topic.

What's off topic about it?

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I see I owe you an explanation.

At that point in time, History migrated that question and another one to HSM, confusing most of us and sparking a second meta discussion on History. The community collectively decided to close the questions, thus rejecting the migration and sending it back to History, because it already had perfectly fine answers (deleted here automatically; this is not what happened on the other question, which is, come to think of it, odd), which had been migrated here with the question.

"Off-topic" was merely the close reason we chose; see the meta post.

It is also a complete coincidence that the only other non-CM-users who voted to close are now moderators (LoganM and I); this was before we had mods. The decision was made by the community and finalized by Pops; see his meta answer.

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  • $\begingroup$ So is the question off topic? If it is, I'd love to find out why. If it isn't, then it is erroneously marked as such. $\endgroup$ – Joe May 8 '15 at 18:51
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    $\begingroup$ @Joe No, it is not off-topic, but it needed to be closed in order to send it back to History SE (where it was also on-topic). "Off-topic" is what the system uses to give custom close reasons, and no other close reason fit, so that's what we ended up using. If a similar question were asked here now, it would be perfectly allowed. $\endgroup$ – Logan M May 8 '15 at 22:34
  • $\begingroup$ @LoganM, the closed question doesn't point readers towards History.SE, it's just a dead end. And with the "off topic" close reason, it strongly discourages people from asking anything like it on HSM. Is there a way to make it A) point to the question on History, and B) change the close reason to something like "Closed because this question already has good answers here (link)."? $\endgroup$ – Joe May 8 '15 at 22:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Joe The closed question does point to the version on history SE; if you click the banner it will take you to history.stackexchange.com/posts/17163/revisions (though this is not perfect, it can't be changed). As for the close reason you propose, it isn't possible within the software. The only possible close reasons are "duplicate" (which requires us to pick another question on this site), off-topic (which includes all custom reasons), unclear, too broad, and primarily opinion-based... $\endgroup$ – Logan M May 8 '15 at 23:12
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    $\begingroup$ I don't believe that it discourages readers who read the comments from asking questions like that here, particularly since the most recent comment by Pops explicitly begins with "this question is on-topic". But if you think it is having such a negative effect, we can delete the one here, which would presumably solve that. $\endgroup$ – Logan M May 8 '15 at 23:12
  • $\begingroup$ @LoganM, that is an awfully hard-to-find link! I have some thoughts about this, but I think this is a Meta SE matter at this point. $\endgroup$ – Joe May 8 '15 at 23:16
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    $\begingroup$ @Joe Feel free to post there; that could be a good discussion. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 May 8 '15 at 23:25
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    $\begingroup$ meta.stackexchange.com/questions/256167/… $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 May 9 '15 at 0:26

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